Theatre for Activism in New York

In New York, one group of people are using their love of the arts and theatre to bring a positive change to the world. Right now, not only America but the rest of the world is in a period of great change. It seems in almost every corner of the globe, there are protests and violence breaking out. For those involved in the Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, they are using theatre to attempt to start a dialogue with lawmakers and other citizens.

All throughout the month of May, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC has been staging activist theatre to bring attention to societal problems such as homelessness. This started, in a way, back in the 1970s with Brazilian activist Augusto Boál and his Theater of the Oppressed. Nowadays, his technique and style are taught in college-level theatre classes throughout the country.

Theatre of the Oppressed NYC is made up of individuals from multiple groups, namely the Ali Forney Center for LGBT homeless youth and The Fortune Society’s Reentry Veterans Initiative. After acting out a skit, facilitators would then bring audience members up to reenact the skits replacing characters and finding solutions to major issues. It is this switching of viewpoints that really help change things. Afterwards, some of the more popular ideas are presented to legislatures and lawmakers for consideration.

While not the most popular form of activism, Theatre of the Oppressed originally had several laws enacted and this new incarnation hopes to continue that tradition.